Munster and Ireland lock Paul O’Connell underwent surgery yesterday in Dublin to correct a bulging disc that was pressing on a nerve in his lower back.
The operation was a success and Paul O’Connell, who has only played against Racing Metro 92 and Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup this season, will leave hospital today and return home.
O’Connell had a similar issue in 2002 that required surgery and a recurrence in 2008, but at that time it was managed without needing surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup and league.
When the problem arose again this season it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008.
However, though progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for him to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.
Speaking about the process, O’Connell said: “I’m delighted with the way the operation went. More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned.
“My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable. In terms of a return, I’d be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts.”